The Optimist: Thomas Who? In Praise of Peter Bosz

The Optimist: Thomas Who? In Praise of Peter Bosz

What is The Optimist? The Optimist is a weekly column that examines the positives around our favorite club. It goes beyond just who played well or what kind of victory we achieved over the weekend. Rather, it is highlighting a story or person that exemplifies the reason we love this club and root for it. Usually, The Optimist is a beacon of hope during a down period, an opportunity to feel good about the club when things are not going right. So far, this season has been all optimism as BV has established themselves as the primary threat to Bayern Munich retaining the title.

With so much good to write about, let’s focus on one aspect of the club that we may have forgotten was unsettled as recently as three months ago. When Thomas Tuchel left the club, the situation was as unpleasant as it could be considering Dortmund had just won a trophy. As I wrote at the time:

Dortmund has a pipeline of young talent, money to spend on player acquisitions, and a large fanbase. It has the makings of a club that can compete annually for a top three spot. If management wants to continually sell off its most valuable pieces, the club will need perfect coaching annually to try and win the league. Thomas Tuchel knows this is a large ask, and anyone Dortmund hires will know the same.

When Tuchel leaves, the Board will undoubtedly be able to bring on a good, young manager who will take the talent provided and do well. However, the margin of error is so thin that this bright young manager could be overseeing a club that is battling to stay out of the relegation zone next year and for years to come.

I inaccurately predicted that Aubemayang would depart (thankfully) but the club’s policy has largely remained intact. Out goes Dembele, in comes some younger or undervalued pieces. So far this season, that strategy has worked. However, the fact remains that managers like to build clubs based on their players, and if those players are poached constantly it causes friction between management and the manager. Even in a club like Dortmund, famous for youth development, there needs to be a strategy to keep players and help them reach their peak with the club.

When Thomas Tuchel departed, it gave the club a chance to clear out some bad air that had developed. But we wondered at the time if it would be addition by subtraction or a gamble that the club could again let the managerial genius move on and replace him with an up-and-coming genius. Enter Peter Bosz, who took a young Ajax side to the Europa League finals. Bosz’s resume was long, as it is for most managers in their 50s, but low on recognizable success. In addition, rumors surfaced that there was friction between Bosz and some of his staff at Ajax, which considering our situation was not a positive. Then there was the style of play. Bosz liked to play a pressing, attacking style that was similar to what Dortmund had been playing recently, but still, the club allowed 40 goals last season. Could a managerial change and a few new additions make this much of a difference?

Well, the results are still early to be definitive but Bosz is passing all of his exams to this point. Dortmund is bringing forward good, young talent that is maturing before our eyes. The club’s summer signings have contributed greatly and he has been able to integrate the new players smoothly into the line-up. Of course, BVB’s defence has been stellar, with only the one goals allowed this season. The side is scoring goals in bunches, defending well, and rotating well with injuries and multiple competitions taking its toll on the roster early. Maybe the best thing of all? Not a peep from the manager’s office about arguments with the front office.

It is still incredibly early in the season, but the maturity and tactical acumen coming from the sidelines this season has been impressive. Bosz to this point has not only succeeded but excelled. Of course awaiting them are tougher roads, including surviving their Champions League group and two scheduled matches against Bayern. However, we may have found a perfect manager and are willing to negotiate tough with agents, allowing BVB to develop, coach, and retain top talent.